Why You're Married

This post is in response to an evocative article in the Huffington Post entitled "Why You're Not Married" by Tracy McMillan.

This "Married Guy Response" by Dave Carter is the first in a series. To read the second post, click here. To read the third post, click here.

While Ms. McMillan was speaking mainly to single women, Dave is speaking mainly to married men. This piece is intended as a parody, so it follows a very similar pattern to Ms. McMillan's article, and in fact actually steals her words occasionally (because some of them ring true from a married guy's POV), but Dave ain't getting paid for doing this, so there's no need to sue him.

If you re-read her article first, the parallels in Dave's are funnier! OK then. Ready? Here goes...

You didn't want to get married. It's taken a while to admit it. Saying it out loud -- even in your mind -- feels kind of scary (as in, there will be hell to pay if your wife reads this). It feels kind of embarassing, kind of assinine. Definitely not you, or at least not the you that you recognize.

Because you're hardly a d-bag. You've been faithful to your wife since the day (14 years ago) when you both agreed to date exclusively, although (like most guys) you've occasionally fantasized about women competing for your attention like those poor actress-wannabes on The Bachelor. And you did and you still do genuinely love your wife.

You even convinced yourself that buying a stupid diamond ring would somehow be a good investment.

Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. Another argument over nothing. A friend's divorce. He asked you if you knew a good lawyer, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 52 years old, having spent the prime of your life with someone who claims to love you but who can be counted on to take the opposing point of view whenever she hears whatever stance you've decided to take.

You started to envy the friend who's getting divorced -- he is soon going to be so effing free -- and for the first time in a long time you reminisced about the joy (angels singing) of unilateral decision making. For years you never really cared that much. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering... Deep, deep breath ... Why are you still married?

Well, I know why.

How? Because I've been married. Twice. Yes, as the old joke goes, I'm a two-time loser: my first wife left me, and my second wife didn't...

I escaped married life at age 33, after five tortuous years, but then I willingly chose it again at age 40. My first wife was a school-of-hard-knocks woman who I literally “rescued” (see pics of the white horse and suit of armor on my FB page) from an abusive relationship, but whose values differed enough from mine that eventually the decision to divorce made more sense than staying put. I then enjoyed seven glorious years of singledom before I met and married a woman who at the age of 38 had never been married (a yellow flag), but whose net worth was twenty times mine (which meant that at least she wasn't after my money). (Was I a trophy husband? Ha! You decide.)

I was, despite no prenupt, optimistic that this marriage would last, but still, somewhere down deep, I didn't want to go through with it. Growing up in a boring middle class family without any significant abuse has a lot to do with it. The need for something NOT boring made me look for very specific traits in the women I dated -- traits that lead to divorce a surprisingly high percentage of the time. A strong personality with an egalitarian outlook. A healthy appetite for sex. The ability to stay organized and follow through. A desire for children.

Without really trying to, I've become sort of an amateur shrink -- someone who's had to do so much work on his own issues that I can now help you with yours. But I digress...

And I won't lie. The problem is not your wife --- it's you. Sure, there are lame wives out there, but they're not really standing in your way. Because the fact is -- if whatever they're doing right now was going to get you to divorce your wife, you'd already be writing alimony checks. So without further ado, let's look at the top 6 reasons why you're still married.

1. You're a Wimp.
Here's what I mean by wimp. I mean you've given up. You probably don't think you're a wimp. You think you're a new-age man, or if you've been to a lot of therapy, that you're enabling your wife to self actualize. But the truth is you're scared. Of your mom. Of shopping malls. Of Sarah Palin. And it attracted a woman who often can't be pleased.

The deal is: most women just want to marry someone who listens to them rant. They have unfinished business with their father, or some previous a-hole boyfriend(s), and your easygoing personality just makes a great punching bag. But you'll suffer in silence, because on some level you feel sorry for her. There's nothing sadder than a woman whose father wasn't plugged in to what a gift little girls are.

I am the father of three girls, aged 8, 10, and 22, which is to say that when my wife begins menopause, there will be two (count them) teenage girls in the house. Don't you think I should run for it now, while the gettin's good? I didn't think so.

You've seen how pathetic Bruce Jenner has become. Besides, male assertiveness annoys competent women. I know it seems unfair that you have to tolerate your wife thinking she's in charge in order to stay married -- but actually, it's perfect, since as a single guy at your age you will need to tolerate a LOT in order to get a homecooked meal, let alone any nookie.

2. You're Boring.
When it comes to choosing a partner, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a woman's character should be at the top of the list of things you looked for, right? And since you're married, I already know it was. Because if you weren't looking for a woman of character, you would still be single. Women of character are, by definition, willing to commit to boring guys like you.

Just think, you could be with an adventurous woman. A woman who will do anything for money. Or a woman who can put both legs behind her head. Unfortunately, these are not the characteristics of a wife. These are the daydreams of a guy who prefers marriage to fun. Women of character do not want men of action and adventure. Because most married women, especially moms, would rather take a nap. And they rarely feel like camping.

3. You're Lazy.
Hooking up with your wife in a hot tub on a rooftop is never going to happen unless you can (a) convince her that no one will see you, (b) make sure the water isn't too hot or too cold, (c) make sure there are at least two plush towels close at hand (one for her hair, one for her body), and (d) plenty of alcohol on hand. Which means, unfortunately, that having sex in a committed relationship is often what Buddhists call an insurmountable opportunity. Why? Because after a certain amount of time, the number of her requirements will exceed your desire and/or ability to meet them.

And you will end up soaking your hand in a glass of beer. Why? In order to get “your date” drunk.

After a few years, your wife will remind you of her mother (and she'll see your father's worst traits in you), which will encourage you both to find reasons why it isn't going to happen tonight. This is due in part to this thing called an “ego” -- a filter on reality that distorts perception -- which will totally mess up your sex life over time if you don't learn how to separate from it.

Your ego is why you will secretly imagine Elizabeth Hurley, if that's what it takes to get the job done, because if you don't do everything the way your wife expects, you'll be dating your right hand for another year or so. Your wife will have no idea how you did it. Elizabeth Hurley, that's how you did it. And since nature can't discriminate (especially with the lights out) between your wife, your hand, or Elizabeth Hurley, you should feel free to fantasize as often as necessary.

4. You're a Liar.
When you were dating, it usually went something like this: you met a cute chick who seemed to like you, and she wasn't in a relationship. So you asked her out. Not wanting her to think you're a cheapwad, you brought her flowers and took her to dinner and a movie. She was a good kisser, so you asked her out again. Around the fifth date, each one more lavish than the last, and just when you thought you might be feeling something for her, she announced that she still had feelings for her previous boyfriend. You never heard from her again, and then your credit card bill came, even though you never did.

Clearly you should have seen this coming. I mean, she was really cute. And you were lying to yourself, bro.

Wisely, you learned to stick with women who have some condition that absolutely necessitates getting involved with a guy, especially a guy with a job, like she's pregnant, or she gets around town in a wheelchair. Or maybe she just came right out and said something openhearted and honest like, "My ex just got out of prison and he's stalking me."

You knew that if you told this kind of woman the truth -- that you're ready for marriage – she'd run to you. Usually that day. And that's exactly what hap'd. A woman so desperate she'd never leave you. So just remember how perfect this is, because you need a woman who doesn't run screaming when you undress.

About ten minutes later, reality kicks in. She starts wanting more. So you take the wheels off of her chair. She ain't going anywhere. It's your little secret. You have sex with her, hoping she doesn't figure out how to escape. I have news: she will "figure" this out. She was doing just fine before she met you. And you know she doesn't really need you. Especially now that she's done having kids. You shouldn't have been lying to yourself in the first place, but you're a “hopeful romantic” so just deal with it and quit sniveling.

5. You're Selfish.
If you're married, chances are you think a lot about your wife. You think about her thighs, her outfits, her naso-labial folds. You think about her at work, or if she doesn't have a job, you think about her doing yoga poses. Sometimes you think about how wise it was to marry a wealthy woman -- or at least a woman with a really, really good job -- and that this solves most of your problems.

Howeva, a good husband, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of his day thinking about his wife. He has too much crap to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity men hiring nannies for their kids. The kids put men on notice: Bitch, hello! No matter how much you do around the house, and no matter how many helpers you hire for your wife, it will never be enough for her to feel horney!

After a year or two of thinking about someone other than himself, not so suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford find that their latest wife is no longer interested in sex. Which is also to say -- if what you really want is to live in the same house with your children, shut the f**k up. Your wife just needs to vent. Motherhood has a way of killing her sex drive. But, my fellow husbands, you still have your hands, so quit being selfish!

6. You're Good Enough, But That's Not Good Enough.
Oh, I don't think that. Your wife does. I can tell because you married a partner who is your equal. Yes, you chose someone who doesn't accept you as you are: reasonably attractive, sharing diaper changing and dish washing chores, paying at least half of the bills, willing to accept that sex happens only about once a year, if that. It's just not enough, man.

Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. But now this minute has passed. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to flying solo, since men who don't know their own worth make terrible lovers. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately your spouse can't love you any better than you love yourself. Any man who has basic use of his hands knows this.

I see this at my kids' elementary school. Of 150 kids, maybe six have dads who are as fit as you. They're attractive, sure. But they're not getting any sex, either. Their wives (wisely) chose them for their character, not their looks. Remaining faithful even when your wife hardly ever puts out is a sure sign of character.

Alright, so that's the bad news. The good news is that I believe every married man who wants to can find reasons to stay married. You're just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage is making you sad. It's a choice to be sad. Once the initial low wears off, you'll just be you, but with someone who occasionally cooks for you, though you'll have a lot less freedom and money and sex and self esteem than you otherwise might. Not a bad trade.

Ultimately, marriage is not about getting something -- it's about giving in. Strangely, men understand this more than women do. Probably because for us marriage involves sacrificing our most treasured possession -- a free-agent penis -- and for women, it's the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland. (Author's note: Sorry, I couldn't help stealing this paragraph and the next one almost verbatim!)

The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it. Because most of the time, your neurotic, nagging, wine-sipping, book-reading wife will not be doing what you want her to do. But as you give her love anyway -- because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self -- you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:

Love.

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